FOCUS ON THE PHILIPPINES
an electronic newsletter (focusing mainly on Philippine news and issues) of
FOCUS ON THE GLOBAL SOUTH
a Program of Development Policy Research, Analysis and Action
Issue #20 2001 7 May
"EDSA 3: A SURPRISING UPRISING"
The tremors of the May Day Riot shook more than the gates of Malacanang. The Edsa Dos forces were quick to distinguish their brand of people power from the gathered mass. That this uprising of the "great unwashed" provoked such sharp reaction from the left is truly telling. Not only did the riot police have to contend with their mass; as the following commentaries reveal, the prospect of an Edsa 3 put the keepers of Edsa 2 on the defensive, and it left them more than a little reflective. ~[m]
In this issue:
 Letter from Manila by Howie Severino
 The May 1st Riot: Birth of Peronism Philippine-Style? by Walden Bello
 The May Day Uprising in Mendiola by Mary Louise Malig
Letter from Manila:Fear and loathing on EdsaPhilippine apartheid at a crossroadsThis is polite company's worst nightmare: a massive, agitatedgathering of the poor, demanding the return of Estrada.(www.bwf.org)
By Howie G. Severino
MANILA, April 29, 2001 --
In this baffling country, it's been a weekof supreme ironies outdoing each other.
A private citizen comes home to the Philippines recentlyafter seven months abroad, thinking he had missed Edsa Dos and themost drama in Manila since 1986. No one had warned him that morebizarre events were yet to come. First, former president Estrada gets arrested. The sweetirony of it: just months earlier the citizen had witnessedthen-President Estrada swagger through the swanky Fairmont Hotel inSan Francisco, basking in the adoration of a sip-sip immigrant crowd,being serenaded by his US-based former leading ladies, and braggingabout the atrocities that he had visited on Muslim communities inMindanao.
The most powerful person in the Philippines later thumbed hisracist nose at the demonstration outside his hotel and derided it ashaving attracted African-Americans.
Now just months later, Estrada was grimly posing for a mugshot in Camp Crame. Then he was shown lying on a cot inside a cellwith wire mesh windows. The Philippine courts had actually thrown thebook at a corrupt president and sought to punish him. It wasn't justjustice, but poetic justice.
It didn't seem to require a college education to see thatthis was a historic step forward for the nation; one could almosthear a sigh of closure on a process that began in spectacular fashionlast October.Finally, after so much self-flagellation, it seemed Filipinos had summoned the political will to put a big fish, nay the biggestfish, behind bars. Why, this could be the key moment when thePhilippine state actually begins to regard citizens equally. Thiscould even be the beginning of the end of Philippine-style,no-holds-barred political corruption, once politicians saw that evenpresidents could go to jail. It should have been a shining moment. Then the strange battle began to turn right into wrong.
DesecrationProclaiming him innocent and his arrest inhuman, Estradasupporters would not let him go gently to his cell, nor allow thenation a moment to appreciate what had been accomplished. Instead,frenzied loyalists, claiming to be representive of the poor, tried toprevent the police from arresting their hero at his mansion in NorthGreenhills -- a gated community where they would normally never bewelcomed by private security. This demonstration featured none of the orderly marches orprayers or polite company of the anti-Estrada protests of threemonths ago that took place in Manila. Just rock throwing, wailing,and the kind of emotional outbursts one commonly sees in Philippinemovies. Pipe-wielding goons also threatened and hurt media people,especially network TV crews that had given so much air time to theanti-Estrada protests. Their vehicles were also damaged. This was polite company's worst nightmare, and it would getbigger. The pro-Estrada action soon grew into a massive, agitatedgathering around the Edsa Shrine, site of both Edsa Uno and Dos, andin front of a mall frequented by the middle class. Yet another irony: It appeared to be a mirror image of theanti-Estrada protests, with the same location for the stage,political banners hanging from the overpass, and even the same songs-- Bayan Ko, for example, being sung with the same pain of theoppressed. The rally would have been an amusing parody, if it wasn'tso alarming. To many well-heeled shoppers, the size of the crowd --estimated at various times to be between 5,000 and half a million --became scary. Stores in Robinson's Galleria were urged by security toclose early, fearing a violent rampage and looting. It was a gathering driven by a combination of free meals,cash allowances and genuine outrage. Men in new T-shirts distributedpackaged food from the backs of small trucks. Street vendors sellingeverything from snacks to hats followed the crowds and filled theEdsa underpass. The stench of urine was everywhere. The piles ofgarbage were beginning to rival Divisoria's. Cardinal Sin crieddesecration of a sacred shrine. On the hot Saturday afternoon this correspondent mingled withthe crowd, the numbers had thinned to a few thousand but wereexpected to grow as the day wore on. A long-haired rock band onewould normally associate with more progressive politics was onstagetrying to keep the audience worked up before the politicos wouldarrive later in the day. Some TV cameramen sported Erap wristbands, anew kind of anting-anting to ward off the vengeful mob. Groups of cell phone-deprived people were disgorged bychartered jeepneys. Unlike the anti-Estrada protesters, there waslittle economic diversity in this crowd, no college students oroffice workers in evidence. This was the so-called masa, but only a segment of it -- thekind that would blindly vote for whomever their leader told them, orthe kind Estrada and his allies would have few qualms about using ashuman cannon fodder to produce a martyr or two. Certainly, they were a far cry from the masa belonging tomilitant labor unions or people's organizations, who can usuallyarticulate a moral and political justification for their actions. Those interviewed at this Edsa farce simply insisted thatEstrada committed no crimes, and incarceration was no way to treattheir leader.
Victims of Philippine apartheidThere has been an attempt even by some sober media analyststo declare this a class war, pitting the vast numbers of thepro-Estrada poor against the mixed crowd that supported his ouster. But the so-called Edsa Tres strikes this observer asresembling more of a personality cult. No one on Edsa now seems ableto explain the details of a class-based ideology, not even whatEstrada was doing that was worth reviving. They were there for Erap,period. He had declared that he was for them in ways they couldunderstand. It didn't matter that he was accused of plunder againstthe nation. To paraphrase Lyndon Johnson, "We don't care if he's anSOB, as long as he's our SOB." If anything, what this crowd signified is a desperation borneout of a form of economic apartheid. South African racial apartheid legally created separateresidential zones and facilities for different races. In thePhilippines, much more so than in any other country in Asia, economicclass is the dividing line. Entire communities, shopping centers, even office buildingelevators are in effect off limits to the poor. Inside many gatedsubdivisions, signs explicitly prohibit household help from using theswimming pool and other facilities. In the US, where the gap alsoyawns between rich and poor, any outsider can drive or walk throughBeverly Hills. In chi-chi Makati, the communities are walled off; onecan't even look inside. Most of the roads in Makati, in fact, are forprivate use only of those on the fortunate side of this type ofapartheid. Perhaps the more discerning among the pro-Estrada protesterscamped outside his well-guarded neighborhood might have realized thattheir idol himself was very much on the opposite side of the fence inthis system. Outside the cities, land and other natural resources arestill concentrated in the hands of the rich to a degree not seenoutside Latin America.
Language enforces the systemPhilippine law is technically blind, but language enforcesthe dividing line. All the political institutions speak a coloniallanguage only the highly educated can understand. Much of the Estradaimpeachment trial was conducted in English. No wonder many of theuneducated poor are insisting none of the evidence is true. The leader of the politicized Catholic church, Cardinal Sin,issues his statements in English. The major newspapers are exclusively in English. Pastpresidents Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos would speak Filipino when theywere cracking jokes or trying to be folksy. But when it came time todiscuss economic or foreign policy, it was almost always in English,as if the masa either had no interest in anything complicated ordidn't deserve the same explanation. Knowledge of the Englishlanguage was a requirement for any kind of upward mobility. And here now is President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, GeorgetownUniversity graduate, delivering a statement to the nation about thepresent crisis... in English, as if she's addressing only foreigninvestors, diplomats, and the college-educated. So the multitudes who cannot hope to learn enough of aforeign language comprise a highly disadvantaged underclass, unableto get a fair deal from an English-speaking judicial and politicalsystem. Neither can they follow national debates about social justiceor corrupt leaders conducted in the most influential newspapercolumns -- the majority of which are in English. The communist movement made a serious attempt to use languageto mobilize the poor, conducting their organizing and publishingtheir newspapers in the vernacular. But the state was always tryingto crush the communists. So this vast underclass with its own society and language wasripe for any charismatic leader who knew how to speak to them. That is how the silver-tongued Mike Velarde was able toattract so many poor Catholics to his El Shaddai. The Iglesia niKristo, which has been broadcasting the pro-Estrada rallies almostnon-stop through its TV station, communicates to its flock only inFilipino languages. And that is how Joseph Estrada, speaking the language of hisheroic movie characters, rose to power. When he used Filipino to bondwith his constituents, they could understand him. In a politicalsystem designed for the English-speaking, Estrada appeared eager toinclude them. The tragedy is that Estrada really didn't. He exploited thepoor's vulnerability in a conspiracy to transform the state into agiant criminal syndicate where he would be Godfather. His arrest and prosecution are intended to uphold the rule oflaw so that it benefits everyone, rich and poor. But those massing atEdsa at this very moment don't seem to know or care. To them, thepolitical system has always been rotten. Under Estrada, the systemstill sucked for the poor, but he created the illusion that theywould somehow be included. Pro-Estrada candidates are taking turns onstage feeding the illusion, and distracting from the possibility thatreturning Estrada to power would doom the best chance this societyhas had to clean up its politics. At the time of this writing, anti-Estrada groups are planninga series of mobilizations, to support the arrest of the formerpresident. The pro-Estrada forces are vowing to continue their massaction, until their leader is at least transferred to house arrestfrom the lonely, air-conditioned prison quarters set up for him. Aviolent showdown would cause the military to step in, and may hurteven those criminal elites urging an attack on the government. Many of the poor today are gathering on Edsa in numbers thatgive them real power. The greatest irony of all is they are using itto demand not an end to Philippine apartheid that condemns them fortheir poverty, but its continuation.
*Howie G. Severino is a journalist based in Manila.
The May 1st Riot: Birth of Peronism Philippine-Style?
By Walden Bello*
When President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appealed for help to defend Malacanang Palace from a looming assault by the Estrada loyalists on Sunday, April 29, the left was the first to respond, with militants from Akbayan and other progressive groups immediately taking positions at the Mendiola and Nagtahan approaches to the Palace. But it was an action that we carried out with a certain amount of ambivalence, if not trepidation.
It was not so much because we were putting our bodies on the line to defend a government many of whose policies we had misgivings about. That night and the following night, the choices were clear: either come out in defense of Gloria’s government or watch from the sidelines as a corrupt counter-elite rode back to power. For us in Akbayan!, the Citizens’ Action Party, there simply was no middle ground.
No, our feelings of discomfort stemmed from the fact that we, supposedly a mass party for the masses, were ranged against masses mobilized by almost millenarian fervor --which went to show, said a friend, that history not only was cunning but had an ironic sense of humor.
A Genuine Mass Uprising
True, many of the people at the Edsa Shrine had been paid from 500 to 3000 pesos to go there. True, the backbone of the pro-Erap forces were members of the Iglesia ni Kristo (Church of Christ) and the charismatic El Shaddai movement who had been ordered to Edsa by their hierarchs. True, opposition senatorial candidates like Juan Ponce Enrile and Miriam Defensor-Santiago, as well as Estrada offspring J.V. Ejercito must bear responsibility for inciting the crowd to march on Malacanang. True, many of the shantytown youth spearheading the assault were high on shabu and other drugs.
But when all is said and done, one would be hard put to deny the truth that the vast majority of those who went to the Edsa Shrine and later marched on Malacanang were mainly motivated by resentments against the rich, by feelings that a terrible injustice had been done to their hero, Joseph "Erap" Estrada, by a sense that they were acting to protect the constitution and democracy. To say that they were simply manipulated by cynical politicians is to express a half-truth and to do the masses a great injustice.
How a corrupt lout masquerading as a man of the masses like Estrada was able to capture the fierce loyalties of the poor, downtrodden, and marginalized will be the subject of many studies in political psychology in the months and years to come. But the reality is that, for all their vast corruption and incompetence while in office, Estrada and his backers have been able to do something that has eluded the left for decades, and that is to organize the people along class lines into a powerful mass movement.
"Erapism" and Peronism
The closest approximation to the Estrada movement is Peronism in Argentina.
The parallels are stark: Juan Domingo Peron’s main base of support was the villas de miseria, or urban poor settlements, ringing Buenos Aires. Peron was squeezed out of power by the traditional aristocracy and the military, with the support of the middle class. Peron was brought back to power by the rampaging descamisados ("the shirtless ones"). Whether the urban poor and the pro-Estrada politicians will manage a similar feat in the Philippines remains to be seen, for it is increasingly clear that this week’s setback was not the last act of a national drama.
The fact is that just as Peronism altered the political landscape of Argentina irreversibly, becoming the dominant expression of lower-class participation in politics, so is Estrada’s populism transforming that of the Philippines. Class-oriented politics has finally come to this country, but it has done so with a vengeance, in a way that the classic parties of the left never anticipated: as an alliance among the urban and rural poor, party bosses with a strong grip on the electoral machinery, and a charismatic personality to whom populist rhetoric and the populist style is second nature.
To the forces that made up the so-called Edsa II Coalition that drove Estrada from power last January, the May Day riot in Mendiola was a moment of crystal clarity.
To the middle class that served the mass base of Edsa II, the Mendiola Riot underscored the gap between their political values and those of the masses. Anti-corruption and good governance was the battle cry that mobilized the middle class in January. In contrast, while the masses care about good governance, their rallying around Estrada showed that they value much more the promise of a better life, being accorded respect as human beings by those who are better off, being able to identify with those who claim to lead them.
To the Catholic Church hierarchy, recent events underlined how badly out of synch it is with the vast masses of Filipinos. Indeed, along with President Arroyo and former Presidents Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos, Cardinal Jaime Sin was one of the principal figures of the so-called "Edsa III’s" rogues’ gallery. If the Iglesia ni Kristo and the El Shaddai were welcomed at the Edsa Shrine by the pro-Estrada masses, this was not only because of their numbers, but because they represented faiths that were seen as more relevant to the needs, aspirations, and fears of the poor.
For the traditional "patrician" elite symbolized by the Makati Business Club, which has tremendous influence on the economic and social policy of the current administration, the Mendiola Riot should have underscored the fact that trickle-down economics cum paternalism and tokenism is no longer a viable strategy for appeasing the poor. And if she wishes to mount an effective challenge to the formidable populism of Estrada, President Arroyo must realize that a conditio sine qua non is her breaking with her Makati Business Club handlers and her UP School of Economics advisers. For these circles are locked into a losers’ strategy when it comes to addressing the masses’ central preoccupation: the rapid reduction of poverty and social inequality.
Indeed, one cannot say that this administration has a strategy for addressing poverty. What it has is a neoliberal strategy for stimulating growth by making the country attractive to foreign investors, liberalizing trade and capital flows, pursuing export-oriented growth, and cutting the budget deficit. In this view, the important thing is to get the "macroeconomic fundamentals right," and then leave it to market forces to trigger the economic growth that will create the resources that will trickle down to the poor. Until then, an anti-poverty program is largely a matter of setting up safety nets.
However theoretically attractive this approach may be, there is scant empirical support for its success in addressing the formidable problems of poverty and inequality that have now been accentuated by the same process of globalization it aims to promote. It is a surefire path to political disaster in a country with a vast urban and rural underclass.
It is, however, unlikely that after the moment of clarity has passed, most of the key actors of Edsa II will remember the lessons of Edsa III. The Philippine elite, the Catholic Church, and the middle class have a notoriously short memory, and the fears triggered by the raw reality of class uprising that they saw in the last few days is likely to dominate their sentiments for reform, leading them eventually to throw their support for stronger police measures and conservative socioeconomic policies. The traditional elite in this country is notorious for its lack of a truly enlightened faction, and with much of the political counter-elite consolidating around Estrada’s bankrupt populism, a Filipino Franklin D. Roosevelt simply is not in the cards.
Challenge to the Left
The one possible exception among the Edsa II forces is the left. Here the task of unlearning ineffective paradigms and practices in order to better compete for the loyalties of the masses is a formidable challenge. Sticking to the explanation that it was simply manipulation by the pro-Estrada elite that triggered the Mendiola Riot, as some groups have noisily contended, is a sure route to irrelevance. Likewise, saying that unionized, class-conscious workers proved impermeable to Erap’s populist appeal doesn’t get one very far, since under conditions of globalization, irregular and marginal employment has become the dominant condition for the vast majority of workers, and it is these non-unionized strata that are most readily susceptible to Erap’s millenarian populism.
But the challenge goes beyond dumping facile explanations, to an abandonment of both the orthodox Leninist and western-oriented Social Democratic approaches to organizing the masses. Theory must be innovatively married to an instinct, a "feel," for where the masses are at and to populist language and symbolism while remaining faithful to the core values of equality, democracy, liberty, and decency. No less than a sea change in strategy, methods of organizing, and even as something as basic as language is demanded.
Unless the left looks at the recent crisis with humility, as an opportunity to learn and revitalize itself, the fire next time might not only sweep away the elite but also decimate the progressive movement, rendering it, as in Argentina, forever irrelevant.
*A professor of sociology and public administration at the University of the Philippines and executive director of the Bangkok-based Focus on the Global South, the author is also national chairman of Akbayan!, the Citizens’ Action Party.
The May Day Uprising in Mendiola
By: Mary Louise F. Malig
It¹s a weekday and the people began another workday, filling in buses,
lining pedestrian lanes and joining the usual rush hour traffic. Nothing seems to be out of the ordinary, but sane people know better. The images are still fresh. The broken glass, the blood, the stones, the M16s all still blare loudly. The last few days have proved to be more reality TV than people cared for. Reality bites as one adage goes but they never said it would sting this much.
That bite began last April 25 ordinarily enough with pro-Erap supporters flocking to the celebrated Edsa Shrine to protest the over media hyped Estrada arrest the day before. Their idol was down and being kicked by the oppressors and they weren¹t going to stand for that. Opposition politicians seized the opportunity as emotions rode high on the people but more so because they knew that this just might work. That they just might be able to wrest the power from Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who had catapulted to the presidency a little more than a hundred days ago through the very same means.
And so it went. For the next five days people massed at the Shrine, enraging the Catholic Church, the activists, the business groups, the youth, and almost everyone, who, just a few months ago, went there to that sacred ground to demand for the resignation of then President Estrada. Stories of people being paid and other rent-a-mob qualities circulated like wildfire making the middle class, with the help of media, look down their noses on this lumpen crowd. Who in turn did little to refute this image as they beat up media men attempting to cover the event.
Analysts dismissed it and predicted it would fizzle out as people with no clear objectives and principle cannot possibly sustain these rallies, either that or the money supporting this civil disobedience would simply run out. Whichever way, it was bound to end and their demands for Estrada¹s return to the presidency sounded plain ridiculous. But as the rallies culminated into a furiously vicious 12-hour attack on the Philippines¹ seat of power, the originally condescending people could do nothing but stand back, mouths agape.
As the shock of the fury of these supporters slowly sank in, a reassessment of the past few days came inevitably.
Yes, many of the pro-Erap supporters tested positive for drug use and even more of them admitted to being paid, mobilised or promised employment but the reality is the majority of them really believe in Erap and have pinned their hopes on him. They have legitimate grievances, which until today remain unheard for the simple reason that in society, poverty robs voices and renders one as a simple statistic in developmental reports. Not that Estrada actually did anything to change this situation but to him they put their trust nonetheless, sincerely believing that their voices are heard. How can he not when he has gone to the wretched hovels they call home and eaten their severely lacking viands with them. He is one of them and they will do anything for him and this is where the analysts went wrong. They underestimated the extent of which the people¹s support would go. For they may be disorganised and unruly and violent but they have one rallying point,much in the same way a ballerina may twirl on and on but does not fall because she has one point to focus back on.
And that point cannot be easily replaced as it took Estrada several years to cultivate that image and earn that status. Joseph Ejercito Estrada, more popularly known as Erap, began his career as a movie actor, often starring as the renegade hero of the poor people, endearing him to the audiences comprised mostly of the common tao. Capitalizing on this fame, Erap went on to win several government posts from mayor to senator to vice- president. Then the unthinkable happened. Erap ran for the highest post in the land, using slogans like "Erap para sa Mahirap" and won with an overwhelming majority, earning him the record of being the most popularly elected president of the country.
After elected, talk of midnight cabinets, drinking sessions, a wealth of publicized cronies and an even bigger number of displayed mistresses became accepted as the way of life of the President. He spoke with that unmistakable drunken drawl often bungling policies, leaving his spokespersons and executive secretary to correct whatever inconsistencies he may have declared. And whenever media reported these fumbles of his or any wrong doings of his cronies, he decried them as biased and found ways to exact revenge. Think back to when Manila Times did not only have to publicly apologize, they were closed and bought by well known crony Mark Jimenez and The Philippine Daily Inquirer almost suffered the same fate when it nearly died from the ad boycott. But for the masa, he could do no wrong, he was the invincible hero as he visited slum areas personally handing titles and dole outs, sometimes even from his own pocket.
All of that changed however when his former good friend and crony, Governor Chavit Singson changed sides and spilled his guts. That jueteng scandal frenetically spiralled into an impeachment trial, dragging all other offenses like stock manipulation and pocketed tobacco excise taxes with it. Suddenly, the nation watched, riveted to the devastating amount of evidence and even more ruinous testimonies of witnesses, at the same time, getting a crash course in law and raising their level of political consciousness. So when pro-Erap senators voted to suppress a crucial piece of evidence, the heightened awareness of the people made them realize the violation of their right to the truth. This clamor for justice in turn brought people to the streets for edsa dos.
And with a spontaneity unlike any other, a confluence of different forces massed at the Edsa shrine with one common enemy: Erap. Feeling the noose tightening, Erap¹s friends left his side one by one along with his cabinet members, key officials and as a final blow, the Armed Forces, leaving him in a daze, with no other choice but to resign.But in the aftermath, like the too late twist in a plot of a bad movie,Erap, regained some of his original swagger with the apparent unfazedsupport of his mass base and challenged the legitimacy of the currentadministration both through public speeches and filing cases.
And so even as Arroyo attended to the business of running a government and people got on with their lives, the image of Erap lingered.
Gloria¹s image on the other hand as an elitist, born to wealth and prestige, as the daughter of a former Philippine President, did little to win over the die hard supporters of the fallen movie actor. Estrada of course has his mansions and millions but the point is, their images differ greatly in that Gloria is seen as a member of that intellegentia who look down their noses at the uneducated. Couple that with the irony that the elite that Gloria supposedly belongs to are they themselves not united in their support of her.
And this is why those politicians rallying the fervent supporters of Erap were confident of a victory. They knew that the key players of the Edsa Dos, the uprising that toppled Estrada and brought Arroyo to power, are not solidly united in one aspect: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Remember how long it took for the people to decide to rally behind her? How many indignation rallies did it take? It was because the people could not see that one leader worth the battle. In fact, she was even seen as opportunistic when she started attending masses with Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos and Cardinal Sin. During Edsa Dos itself, the people obviously did not think much of Gloria. The heroes were Chief Justice Davide, Congressman Joker Arroyo, Senator Nene Pimentel and a few other senators. As if to drive the point home, groups like Sanlakas posted signs saying "Erap's ouster is the people's will but Gloria is not the people's choice."
This unwieldy coalition behind Gloria¹s fledgling administration seemed even more unstable than the new government, bringing together camps that would not have originally banded. Then as critics began assessing the new appointees and cabinet members, accusations flew of Gloria recycling traditional politicians or hiring some as political favors. And as if that wasn¹t enough to rock the already shaky boat, a controversial ruling on a local film dealing with the social ills of poverty and the sex trade, angered many, driving a wedge in that poorly concealed divide. Gloria may not have owed her glory to cronies but she was obviously repaying the Church for its support, bringing the old debate of separation between Church and State to the forefront, opening yet even more wounds.
Estrada, if one does not recall, branded the Church as elitist and openly supported the El Shaddai, the religious assemblage with a wide mass base. Then you have Gloria, who, hovering in fear and acting rashly by banning a film she had not seen but had heard enough of from the Church, lost yet another number of severely needed supporters.
So by the time the cameras caught the mug shots of the fallen Erap, the
opposition knew it was time to act. But what they didn¹t expect was Gloria, who until this time did not act like her own person, to be suddenly decisive and surprisingly capable of handling a crisis.
With unbelievable efficiency, the armed forces and the national police
dispersed the crazed crowd maintaining the rule of maximum tolerance. Then acting expeditiously, Gloria ordered the arrest of high-ranking politicians perceived to always have been out of reach of justice. And, in a sudden act of inspiration, Gloria orders her family¹s haciendas to be placed under agrarian reform and for the Department of Labor to disallow casual workers. In one swift motion, Gloria restored the people¹s confidence in her government.
Something Estrada never accomplished, despite his popularity and by the looks of it, never will.
Hi. I am Marissa de Guzman of Focus on the Global South. I am also the moderator for this newsletter. I would appreciate very much comments and suggestions from you. I also welcome and encourage contributions, although I cannot guarantee an automatic 'publishing'. It would be nice to have your own views and thoughts on key issues known to a few but definitely interested people. You may send your comments, suggestions, and articles to me at this address,[email protected]. Thank you.